• Bruce J. Harris

    SOUND OFF with…

    President of HLA East Bay Chapter, retired electronics engineer, and avid hiker.

    1. What was the moment when you realized that you had a hearing loss? What did you do about it?

    About 15 years ago I was tested and told I had poor high frequency hearing, but there was nothing to be done about it. A few years later, I realized I was missing some conversations, and got my first hearing aids. I evaluated them at a restaurant, found they didn’t improve my understanding, and returned them and asked for a refund. A few years later, I finally bought a pair of analog aids.

    Every few years, I’m sold on new developments and buy a new pair. It would be interesting to wear those old aids again for a few days. I suspect even the latest pair would flunk that first evaluation—understanding a conversation in a restaurant. That’s the cusp of a serious problem: losing the subtleties of conversations but not wanting to bluff still leads me to avoid some relationships.

    2. What current issue related to hearing loss would you like to see addressed more? Why?

    The current hearing loss issue that most concerns me is the small percentage of people with hearing loss that belong to HLAA. The knowledge we have could help many and reduce their sense of stigma.

    3. What advice would you give the younger generation?

    I would tell the younger generation to wear ear protection and avoid loud sounds as from power tools, guns, loudspeakers, and ear buds.

    4. What technologies are the most useful to you? How?

    My most valuable hearing technology is, of course, my hearing aids, but I use it all: amplified telephone, bluetooth for my cell phone, a small amplifier/microphone in the car so I can hear my wife, and T-coils for meetings in looped rooms. However, I am disappointed with the small ALDs for noisy places like restaurants—none that I’ve tried work until I hold them a few inches from the talker’s mouth.
    Oh yes, my computer. It keeps me in touch with the world, stores and displays my pictures, and much more.  Most of the time I love it, but there are times…

    5. I am a member of HLAA because……

    I am a member of HLAA because I like the information, which allows me to hear and participate in society. The people have crept up on me, good friends now, who understand how to communicate and have added enormously to my life. As I’ve become more expert, there is the satisfying opportunity to help others: “My mother can’t understand me on the telephone, what can I do?” or “How do you listen to the TV?”